“good times tonight, forget about tomorrow!”
The year was 1855. The streets of San Francisco were overrun with theives, grifters, muggers, and prostitutes. Roving Gangs ruled the streets through violence and intimidation and that was just the clergy. The ratio of men to women was 50:1. The women used to say, “The odds are good, but the goods are odd”. A perfect setting for a guy named Kelly. As ships came into port, their new crew would immediately go AWOL and head to the Gold Country with hopes of striking it rich. This left ship captains with ships full of cargo and no crew. Thats where Kelly came in. He owned a saloon at 55 Pacific, built on the rotting hulks of abandoned ships in what is now the Financial District (where the real crooks are). When captains found themselves crewless, they would go to Kelly to secure sailors. Kelly would slip unsuspecting rummies a ‘Mickey’, rendering them unconscious. He would then lower them through a trapdoor, into a waiting rowboat and deliver them to ships for his payday. The newly ’shanghaied’ sailor would wake up at sea on his way to China with a wicked hangover, a new job and no idea what had happened. What a great idea for a bar! So, 130 years later in 1985, two guys opened up at Polk & Broadway dedicated to the same premise: Have a good time tonight! Don’t worry about tomorrow!
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Shanghai Kelly's Saloon
- Sun - Sat: 1:00 pm - 2:00 am
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